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The Department of Environmental Economics and Management

The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Herzl 229, Rehovot 7610001
Fax: 08-9466267

Department Head:
Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Tel: 08-9489376

Head of the teaching program:
Dr. Ohad Raveh, Tel: 08-9489373

Meital Kappach, Tel: 08-9489230


Kimhi, A. ; Tzur-Ilan, N. Structural Changes in Israeli Family Farms: Long-Run Trends in the Farm Size Distribution and the Role of Part-Time Farming. AGRICULTURE-BASEL 2021, 11.Abstract
Israeli agriculture has experienced rapid structural changes in recent decades, including the massive exit of farmers, a resulting increase in average farm size, a higher farm specialization and a higher reliance on non-farm income sources. The higher farm heterogeneity makes it necessary to examine changes in the entire farm size distribution rather than the common practice of analyzing changes in the average farm size alone. This article proposes a nonparametric analysis in which the change in the distribution of farm sizes between two periods is decomposed into several components, and the contributions of subgroups of farms to this change are analyzed. Using data on Israeli family farms, we analyze the changes in the farm size distribution in two separate time periods that are characterized by very different economic environments, focusing on the different contributions of full-time farms and part-time farms to the overall distributional changes. We found that between 1971 and 1981, a period characterized by stability and prosperity, the farm size distribution has shifted to the right with relatively minor changes in higher moments of the distribution. On the other hand, between 1981 and 1995, a largely unfavorable period to Israeli farmers, the change in the distribution was much more complex. While the overall change in the size distribution of farms was smaller in magnitude than in the earlier period, higher moments of the distribution were not less important than the increase in the mean and led to higher dispersion of farm sizes. Between 1971 and 1981, the contributions of full- and part-time farms to the change in the size distribution were quite similar. Between 1981 and 1995, however, full-time farms contributed mostly to the growth in the average farm size, while the average farm size among part-time farms actually decreased, and their contribution to the higher dispersion of farm sizes was quantitatively larger. This highlights the need to analyze the changes in the entire farm size distribution rather than focusing on the mean alone, and to allow for differences between types of farms.
Becker, N. ; Kimhi, A. ; Argaman, E. Costs and benefits of waste soils removal. LAND USE POLICY 2020, 99.Abstract
Piles of soil excavated from construction sites become a problem when they are left on site for several reasons. For example, they are exposed to wind and water erosion and constitute an environmental nuisance by disturbing the natural landscape. Thus, they create an external cost. In Israel, it is illegal to leave such piles after the project ends. The aim of this paper is to test the efficiency of this mandatory policy. We estimated the benefit of transferring such waste soil to designated landfills through Contingent Valuation (CV) which assesses people's willingness to pay for the removal of the nuisance. We then compared it to the removal cost. To estimate these costs we used linear programming to find the minimum cost of transporting the soil to a set of designated landfills. Our results indicate an annual net benefit of ILS 4.7 million (about USD 1.34 million). This translates into a Benefit-Cost-Ratio of 1.058, which is not significantly different from 1 based on the confidence interval for willingness to pay. Net benefit is also sensitive to assumptions regarding transportation cost.
Kimhi, A. ; Hanuka-Taflia, N. What drives the convergence in male and female wage distributions in Israel? A Shapley decomposition approach. The Journal of Economic Inequality 2019, 17, 379–399. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We examine the drivers of the convergence of the hourly wage distributions of males and females in Israel between 1995 and 2008. Israel is an interesting case study in this respect, since it experienced declining wage inequality in recent decades, as opposed to most developed countries. We found that the gender differences in both average wages and wage inequality declined over time. In particular, average wages increased faster for females than for males, while wage inequality declined faster for males than for females. We decomposed these distributional changes into the contributions of worker and job attributes, the returns on these attributes and residuals using a Shapley approach applied to counterfactual simulated wage distributions. We found that most of the increase in male wages was due to the increase in wages of workers in high-wage occupations and industries, while female wages increased mostly due to the increase in the returns to experience. The decline in wage inequality was driven mostly by changes in attributes, the decline in the returns to education, and the catching-up of immigrant workers, and each of these components was stronger for males than for females. We conclude that the convergence of the male and female wage distributions was due to both changes in the supply of labor, especially among females, and changes in the demand for labor leading to changes in the returns to various skills.
Reitan, A. ; Rubin, O. D. ; Rubin, A. ; Kimhi, A. Privatization, demographic growth, and perceived sustainability: Lessons from the Israeli renewing kibbutzim. Sustainable Development 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Abstract In 2005, the State of Israel established a new classification?renewing kibbutzim. This study examines the relationship between the extent of privatization and the various forms of demographic growth that were permissible under the new classification and their impact on the perceived sustainability of the kibbutz in these communal communities. We collected data at the kibbutz level via interviews with community managers and at the individual level through questionnaires among community members in 19 kibbutzim. We employed the ?nearest neighbor? methodology to create pairs who were demographically eligible for a before and after comparison. Although our results about perceived sustainability suggest that kibbutzim across the board have overcome the struggle to survive and have been able to recover, unlike commonly assumed, changes they adopted in the direction of more privatization and diversified statuses are clearly correlated with smaller increases in levels of perceived sustainability. Our findings may offer lessons for wider sociological questions concerning processes of privatization and stratification.
Kimhi, A. ; Menahem-Carmi, S. Does rural household income depend on neighboring urban centers? Evidence from Israel. Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research 2017, 13, 26-35. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This research explores the dependence of rural incomes on nearby urban centers, mostly implied by rural-to-urban and/or urban-to-rural selective migration. Migration flows are affected by wage differentials as well as differences in housing costs and other amenities, and by commuting costs and costs of migration. An income-generating equation, which includes characteristics of nearby urban communities among the explanatory variables, is estimated for rural households in Israeli moshav villages. The results show that the population of nearby urban communities is significantly and positively associated with rural household per-capita income. The same is true for mean income in these communities. In addition, distance from urban communities affects rural income negatively, suggesting that commuting costs are important determinants of the direction of the net migration of high-income households.
Heizler, O. ; Kimhi, A. The Role of Children in Building Parents’ Social Networks. In Social Economics: Current and Emerging Avenues; Social Economics: Current and Emerging Avenues; Mit Press, 2017; pp. 283–304. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Fertility is one of the most important decisions that a household makes. The economic literature has examined numerous aspects of fertility decisions: the optimal number of children, the tradeoff between quantity and quality of children, intergenerational transfers, old-age security and intra-family insurance, the effect of children on parents’ labor supply, the effect of children on parents’ marital stability, and so on (Browning 1992). However, despite the emerging economic literature on the important role played by social networks in various aspects of economic behavior (Jackson 2005; Birke 2009), little is known about the effect of family composition in general, and children
Kimhi, A. ; Sandel, M. Religious Schooling, Secular Schooling, and Household Income Inequality in Israel. In Socioeconomic Inequality in Israel; Socioeconomic Inequality in Israel; 2016; pp. 59-72.